MCJ Dives into the Benefits of Extended Postpartum Medicaid Coverage

A Message from Linda Dixon, Director of Health Law at Mississippi Center for Justice

It’s time to prevent more Mississippi women from dying before, during, and after pregnancy. Too many of our friends, colleagues, and neighbors can share stories of loved ones who died from complications that could have been prevented. According to a recent Mississippi Maternal Mortality Report, the maternal mortality rate between 2017-2019 for Mississippi women was 36 deaths per 100,000 live births. For many women, heart problems and postpartum depression were common conditions that needed consistent follow up treatment after giving birth.

A new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and the Mississippi Center for Justice, highlights the benefits of extending postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days after birth to a full 12 months. The new report finds that this policy would enable up to 14,000 Mississippi women to gain additional health coverage after pregnancy for those necessary doctor visits before and after birth.

Accessibility to these critical health services is important, especially in a state that ranks second to last in the nation for the uninsured rate of women ages 18-44, with 18.2 percent uninsured, compared to national average of 11.7 percent. 

Mississippi is the only state in the deep South to not have extended postpartum Medicaid coverage in place, and one of 17 states nationally.

Extending Medicaid postpartum coverage will lead to less infant and maternal mortality and decrease health disparities across different races and socioeconomic statuses.

Read the new report here for more information.